Not Quite The Summer Of Fun

| Working | April 18, 2017

(It’s October. I have been to the park’s office to get the key of our staff room. Suddenly my mobile phone rings. It’s the park manager.)

Park Manager: “Hi, could you come back to the office. [Director] wants to talk to you about the expiration of your contract.”

(With leaden feet I go back. The director is an unpredictable man, over two metres tall, suddenly aggressive and very bad at empathy. For all I know, the man might be a light form of a sociopath. I enter his office and sit down.)

Director: “Sorry, your contract expires next January. And according to the law, it can be prolonged only three times, which we did. If I prolong again, I have to give you a permanent contract. This means I would have to give you a permanent amount of working hours in the week, and put in pension money. You’re a great guy and I would really love to do all of this, but I can’t afford to. There is of course a law that three months after termination of the contract, we can start over again. Stupid law, but we have to obey. And after those three months, of course, I’ll take you back!”

Me: “I see.”

Director: “Of course I’ll give you as much work as possible in the last weeks, so that you can get a higher unemployment check! And maybe… well, it’s kinda illegal, but I could even give you work during the three months out and then put it on for the time after. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be possible.”

Me: “Ehm… well..”

(I don’t like the sound of committing fraud, but don’t dare to protest it. So I just put on a sour face about it.)

Director: “And I think you should get a higher payment then, and vacation money. You’re a good guy, really, despite being a man of few words.”

(The only reason he thought me to be “a man of few words” is that I’m scared of him and don’t dare to speak. In reality, I talk so much that I annoy people. A few months later, my contract expires and I become unemployed. After some months, the start of the new season gets near. Suddenly, lots of old employees aren’t asked back, due to a new law. This law says the “new start” can’t be made after three months, but after six, together with a so-called “transition compensation” in case of redundancy. These rules will not apply until half a year later, but they will work retroactively. Therefore, lots of old employees aren’t taken back, but I receive the document for returning employees anyway. When the end of the three-month period comes, in April, I still haven’t got any response. I send an e-mail and am invited in the park’s office again. Here are the park manager and the HR manager.)

Park Manager: “Sorry, [Director] isn’t here. He had a meeting.”

HR Manager: “The story is as follows. If he takes you back, it will be a new start, a first contract in a row. But [Director] still will have to pay you a transition compensation if he fires you later. Unfortunately, he has to make the decision himself.”

Park Manager: “You’ll hear tomorrow.”

(Next day I receive a phone call by the park manager. The director decided that I should wait three months longer. It is an emotional blow to me. Three months later I put out an e-mail again. The answer is that the park has enough staff, yet there might be a chance that I can start again after summer vacation, when several employees might go back to college. Halfway through  August, I contact them again and I am invited for another talk with the park manager.)

Park Manager: “I’m warning you that if you return, there won’t be much work for you. I have to call people off everyday now. Business is bad.”

Me: “All right, but what I really need is a clear answer. A yes or a no!”

Park Manager: “[Director]’s answer is yes. Really. But I’m just warning you, you won’t get a full-time job from it.”

Me: “Hmm… that’s tough…”

Park Manager: “Need time to think it over? That’s okay. You can send me a message this weekend.”

(Next day, a Saturday, I send the man a message that I will take the job anyway. On Sunday, my phone rings. It’s the park manager.)

Park Manager: *sounding ashamed* “Erm… I have sad news. [Director] came back on the deal. I’m sorry, I really feel in sad telling you this. He says he wants to treat everyone equal and that it isn’t fair to other old employees.”

Me: “I was already surprised by this generosity.”

(By next February I received the return document once more. Since my unemployment dole had expired last September, I had been living off my savings for months, so I filled the document in and applied again. When I hadn’t heard anything back at the start of the season, late March, I sent an e-mail to the director telling him I was done with the situation and that I considered his behaviour very unprofessional and un-charming. His response showed that he didn’t understand my complaint at all. I never loathed anyone so much.)

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